It is a great honor for the departed soul when Torah is studied in its honor. For this reason, it is customary to study sections from the Mishna (codified compilation of Jewish law) on each day that Kaddish is said. In addition, the word Mishna (study) has the same letters as the Hebrew word Neshama (soul), for the soul acquires merit through those that study Torah for its sake.

Throughout the twelve months following the passing of one's father or mother, and on the Yartzeit (anniversary) of their passing, it is appropriate to study the Mishnayot of the order Taharot, especially the twenty-fourth chapter of the tractate Kelim (see below), before each prayer service.

One who has the time should study also chapters of Mishnayot whose initial letters comprise the Hebrew name of the deceased. Some prayer books have an index of the chapters sorted according to the Hebrew alphabet.

Mishnayot "Kelim" - Chapter 24

1. There are three kinds of shields [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: The bent shield [which surrounds the warrior on three sides, and which during a war is used by him to lie upon] is subject to midras uncleanness; a shield used by swordsmen in their sword-play is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and the small shield used by the Arabs [in festivities and in sports, is not subject to any uncleanness, but] remains altogether clean. 2. There are three kinds of wagons [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: One that is shaped like a chair with three sides is subject to midras uncleanness; one shaped like a bed is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and one [made for carrying] stones remains altogether clean. 3. There are three kinds of kneading-troughs [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: A kneading-trough with a capacity of two log to nine kab which was cracked [hence unusable as a kneading-trough] is subject to midras uncleanness; if it was whole it is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and one that holds a large quantity [forty se'ah liquid or sixty se'ah dry measure] remains altogether clean. 4. There are three kinds of boxes [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: A box whose opening is at its side is subject to midras uncleanness; one that has its opening at the top is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and one that holds a large quantity remains altogether clean. 5. There are three kinds of leather chests [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That of barbers is subject to midras uncleanness; that at which people eat is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that for [pressing] olives remains altogether clean. 6. There are three kinds of stands [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which lies before a bed or before scribes is subject to midras uncleanness; that of a service table is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that of a cupboard remains altogether clean. 7. There are three kinds of writing tablets [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: One that is spread over with sand is subject to midras uncleanness; one that has a receptacle for wax is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and one that is smooth remains altogether clean. 8. There are three kinds of beds [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which is used for lying upon is subject to midras uncleanness; that which is used by glass-makers [to put their wares on] is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that which is used by net weavers remains altogether clean. 9. There are three kinds of baskets [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which is used for manure [to be carried to the field] is subject to midras uncleanness; that which is used for straw is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that of rope mesh used on camels remains altogether clean. 10. There are three kinds of mats [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which is used for sitting is subject to midras uncleanness; that which is used by dyers [to spread garments on them] is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that which is used in wine-presses [to cover the grapes] remains altogether clean. 11. There are three kinds of skin flasks and three kinds of shepherds' skin bags [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: Those holding the standard quantity [seven kab for the flask and five for the bag] are subject to midras uncleanness; those holding less than the standard quantity are subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and those made of fish-skin remain altogether clean. 12. There are three kinds of hides [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which is used as a rug [to sit on] is subject to midras uncleanness; that which is used as a wrapper for utensils is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that which is prepared for making straps and sandals remains altogether clean. 13. There are three kinds of sheets [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That which is made for lying upon is subject to midras uncleanness; that which is used as a door-curtain is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that which has designs [used as a pattern] remains altogether clean. 14. There are three kinds of cloths [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: Towels for the hands are subject to midras uncleanness; coverings for books are subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and shrouds and covers for the musical instruments of the Levi'im remain altogether clean. 15. There are three kinds of leather gloves [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: Those used by hunters of animals and birds are subject to midras uncleanness; those used by catchers of locusts are subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and those used by driers of summer fruit remain altogether clean. 16. There are three kinds of hair-nets [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: That of a girl is subject to midras uncleanness; that of an old woman is subject to uncleanness by a corpse; and that of a woman when she goes outside remains altogether clean. 17. There are three kinds of receptacles [which differ with respect to the laws of cleanness and uncleanness]: If a worn-out receptacle was placed over a sound one as a patch [to make it stronger, the cleanness or uncleanness of the combined receptacle] is determined by the sound one; if a small receptacle was placed over a large one [and both are either sound or worn out, the cleanness or uncleanness of the combined receptacle] is determined by the large one; if both were equal [in size and both are either sound or worn out, the cleanness or uncleanness] is determined by the inner one. Rabbi Shimon said: If an [unclean] pan of a balance was patched on to the bottom of a [clean] boiler on the inside, it becomes unclean, but if on the outside, it is clean; if it was patched on to its side, whether on the inside or on the outside, it is clean.

Mishnayot "Mikvaot" - Chapter 7

Our sages taught that by reciting this chapter of the Mishna, one brings a great spiritual elevation to the soul of the departed. It is further explained that the first letters of the first three paragraphs form the word אי''ה, which in Hebrew is an acronym for "by G‑d's Will." The remaining paragraphs form the word נשמה (Neshama), which means "soul." One should bear this in mind while studying this chapter.



The final paragraphs of this chapter are recited aloud, followed by Kaddish D'Rabannan (page 170). During Shiva, the Mishnayot are recited by a non-mourner.

1. There are things [which when added to or fall into a mikvah of less than the prescribed measure of forty se'ah] serve to raise the mikvah [to its prescribed measure] and do not render it unfit [for ritual immersion]; some make it unfit and do not serve to raise it; and some neither raise it nor make it unfit. The following raise it [to the prescribed measure] and do not make it unfit: snow, hail, frost, ice, salt, and soft mud. Rabbi Akiva said: Rabbi Yishmael took issue with me, saying that snow does not serve to raise the mikvah [to its prescribed measure]. But the men of Medeva testified in his name that he told them: Go and bring snow and make with it [even] a completely new mikvah. Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri said: Hailstones are like [drawn] water [which disqualifies the mikvah.] How do the [aformentioned] serve to raise [the mikvah to its required measure] and not render it unfit? If into a mikvah of forty se'ah less one fell a se'ah of any of these and increased it [to forty] — it is thereby raised [to its prescribed measure] and not rendered unfit. 2. These render a mikvah unfit and do not serve to raise it [to the prescribed measure]: Drawn water, whether [ritually] clean or unclean, water that has been used for pickling or cooking, and wine made from grape-skin, pip or lees before it ferments. How do they render it unfit and do not serve to raise it? If into a mikvah of forty se'ah less one kartov fell a kartov of any of them, it does not serve to raise [the mikvah to forty se'ah]; but it is rendered unfit by three logs of any of them. Other liquids, however, and fruit juices, fish brine, liquid of pickled fish, and wine made from grape-skin, pip or lees that has fermented, at times serve to raise it [to the prescribed measure] and at times do not serve to raise it. How? If into a mikvah of forty se'ah less one fell a se'ah of any of them, it has not raised [the mikvah to its prescribed measure]; but if it contained forty se'ah, and a se'ah of any of them was put in and then one se'ah removed, the mikvah remains kasher. 3. If one rinsed in a mikvah baskets of olives or baskets of grapes and they changed its color, it remains kasher. Rabbi Yosai said: Dye-water renders it unfit by a quantity of three logs, but not merely by the change of color. If wine or olive sap fell into it and changed its color, it makes it unfit. What should one do [to render it kasher again if it contains less than forty se'ah]? He should wait until it rains and its color returns to the color of water. If, however, it already contained forty se'ah, he may fill [buckets of water], carry them on his shoulder and pour it into the mikvah until its color returns to the color of water. 4. If wine or olive sap fell into a mikvah and discolored a part of the water, if it does not contain forty se'ah which has the color of water, one may not immerse himself in it. 5. If a kartov of wine fell into three logs of [drawn] water and its color became like the color of wine, and it then fell into a mikvah [of less than forty se'ah], it does not render the mikvah unfit. If a kartov of milk fell into three logs less a kartov of [drawn] water, and its color remained like the color of water, and then it fell into a mikvah [of less than forty se'ah], it does not render the mikvah unfit. Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri said: Everything depends upon the color. 6. If two people went down and immersed themselves, one after the other, in a mikvah which contains exactly forty se'ah, the first becomes [ritually] clean but the second remains [ritually] unclean. Rabbi Yehudah said: If the feet of the first were still touching the water [while the second immersed himself], even the second becomes clean. If one immersed a thick mantle in a mikvah [of exactly forty se'ah], and took it out leaving part of it still touching the water, [if another person immersed himself then] he becomes ritually clean. If a leather pillow or cushion [was immersed in a mikvah of exactly forty se'ah], when it is taken out of the water by its open end the water within it becomes drawn water [and if three logs of it flow back into the mikvah they will render it — having now less than forty se'ah — unfit]. How is one to remove them [without making the mikvah unfit]? He should immerse them and take them out by their closed ends.

At the conclusion of prayer services (after "Al Tirö," ) recite the following verses aloud, followed by Kaddish D'Rabbanan . During Shiva, these verses are not recited by the mourner, but by a non-mourner on his behalf.


7. If one immersed a bed [that is too tall to be immersed all at one time in a mikvah of forty se'ah], even if its legs sank into the thick mud, it nevertheless becomes ritually clean because the water touched them before [they sank into the mud]. A mikvah whose water is too shallow [for proper immersion], one may press down even bundles of sticks, even bundles of reeds, so that the level of the water is raised and then he may go down and immerse himself. A needle which is placed on the step [leading down to a mikvah] in a cave, and the water is moved back and forth, as soon as a wave has passed over it, it becomes ritually clean.

Some have the custom to pass the left hand over the forehead and say:


Rabbi Chananyah ben Akashya said: The Holy One, blessed be He, wished to make the people of Israel meritorious; therefore He gave them Torah and mitzvot in abundant measure, as it is written: The Lord desired, for the sake of his [Israel's] righteousness, to make the Torah great and glorious.


The second, uniquely Jewish, soul is truly “a part of G‑d above."